Statewide procession honors fallen Lewes firefighter

Delaware State Police and firefighters from across the state escort a hearse carrying the remains of Lewes firefighter Tim McClanahan over Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Delaware State Police and firefighters from across the state escort a hearse carrying the remains of Lewes firefighter Tim McClanahan over Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

LEWES — An approximately three-mile long procession of vehicles on Wednesday morning testified to the late firefighter Tim McClanahan’s impact on so many lives.

Firefighters and other first responders joined a line of 150 vehicles or more as Mr. McClanahan’s remains were returned home from Wilmington following an autopsy.

On Monday, the 46-year-old Lewes Fire Department member died after falling from a helicopter during Delaware Air Rescue Team training at Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown.

While the state’s fire service continued to mourn the loss, the quick moving trail of police motorcycles, fire engines and EMS vehicles offered some solace to grieving loved ones, including Mr. McClanahan’s surviving two children and their family.

“I’m sure the family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support while they were part of the procession,” Lewes FD spokesman Glenn Marshall said.

A Parcell Funeral Home hearse carrying firefighter Tim McClanahan during a procession over over the Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover. The procession started in Wilmington and ended in Lewes on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

A Parcell Funeral Home hearse carrying firefighter Tim McClanahan during a procession over over the Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover. The procession started in Wilmington and ended in Lewes on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Sussex County firefighters met at Redner’s in Milford at 7 a.m. to begin the trip north up Del. 1, with other companies joining in along the way. By 10 a.m., the procession was heading south through Dover on the way to Parsell Funeral Home in Lewes.

For a second straight day, Mr. McClanahan was widely saluted as an energetic firefighter instrumental in bringing a Marine One rescue boat to his Lewes FD, along with a long-time participation in an air rescue team partnered with the Delaware State Police.

“The procession was a followup to [Tuesday’s news conference saluting Mr. McClanahan], and an indication of what can be expected this weekend,” Mr. Marshall said.

Another large turnout is expected for Mr. McClanahan’s Full Fireman’s Services this weekend, beginning with a viewing on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Parsell Funeral Home at 16961 Kings Highway in Lewes.

A second viewing will be held Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. at Cape Henlopen High at 1250 Kings Highway, followed by a funeral mass there at 3 p.m. A final alarm procession will immediately follow the mass.

A reception will follow the services Lewes FD Station 2 at 32198 Janice Road.

Participating fire departments will be limited to one participating vehicle due to projected attendance, space, and traffic concerns.

Updates will be posted online at lewesfire.com.

Other departments support

In the tragedy’s aftermath, several fire departments posted online condolences for family and friends along with the Lewes FD.

The Hartly Volunteer Fire Company posted an unknown author’s verse summing up feelings held by many:

“Tonight… we kneel for his family and for our brothers that worked with him. Tomorrow… we will stand for him.”

On Wednesday Lewes fire trucks drive over the Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover during a procession for Lewes firefighter Tim McClanahan who died in a training exercise.(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

On Wednesday Lewes fire trucks drive over the Barker’s Landing Bridge on Del. 1, south of Dover during a procession for Lewes firefighter Tim McClanahan who died in a training exercise.(Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

On Tuesday, Harrington Fire Company and others provided personnel and an engine for standby duty as Lewes FD was tied up in the response to Mr. McClanahan’s loss.

“Upon hearing about the situation, we called Lewes to let them know we would provide any help they needed,” said Harrington FC Assistant Chief Kenny Brode, noting that the company responded to two alarms in Lewes.

While “this is one of those things you never ever want to happen, it’s amazing how fire departments throughout the state pull together to show their support when they do,” Mr. Brode said.

On its website the Milton Fire Department summed up succinctly what all the state fire service were surely thinking – “Rest in peace brother.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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